How do we assess the continuity required between the life and example of Jesus and subsequent religion called Christianity?
Alan and Michael give three ways to assess the church: right thinking (orthodoxy), right acting (orthopraxy) and right feeling (orthopathy). We need to have all three not just one.
One the greatest strengths of this book is that it takes theology seriously. Alan and Michael do not water down theology. In fact one of their biggest arguments is that the Christian religion has believed in a Jesus that is not theologically correct. We have the right doctrines often enough. The problem is too often the churches seems to have really believed something other than what they say they believe. See the post that examined Question 2 to get an idea of this. They also state that we don’t take the bible seriously enough. What they mean is that too often we read the bible like we are in charge (the bible is an answer book to our questions). Instead the bible should be in charge (it should be allowed to ask us questions).
Right belief needs to be mixed with right feelings. Our hearts and passions are important in following Jesus. “We cannot be disinterested spectators when it comes to Jesus. In fact, in the encounters described in the New Testament, the desire of people to remain neutral observers is in a real sense the real sin.” “Essentially what we are trying to say here is that we have to engage our heart to truly understand Jesus, but also to become like him and to follow him over the long haul.”
And finally we need to have right action. Right beliefs and right feelings lead to right action. If there is no action then the beliefs and feelings are wrong. “In the Bible, the real test of what you know is how you live.”
So if we want to know if we are successful at following Jesus we need to examine our beliefs, passions and actions.
Does the church truly study the word of God? Doe the church allow God’s word to study us?
Is the church passionate about the things of God? There is a song that prays “break my heart with the things that break yours.”
Do Christians live like Jesus?